Hate crime laws typically prohibit harassment that targets victims based on their age, gender, sexual orientation, or race. Harassment can be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the nature of the allegations and if there is any past history of harassment charges.
A harassment arrest normally results from an alleged threat to either a person’s safety or property. A No Contact Order is normally issued after an arrest for domestic violence harassment and the court may ask you to surrender any firearms you may own.
Any act that knowingly and maliciously is meant to threaten a person can meet the definition of harassment. We see many cases where charges are filed without any substantial proof or witnesses to collaborate the alleged victim’s story.
If the allegations are frivolous, we can often time convince the prosecutor to drop the charges, based on the results of our independent investigation. Courts will look at the relationship between the accused offender and the victim, gender, age, occupation, and other factors.
Whatever the circumstances, the prosecution has to be able to prove that the defendant intended for the conduct to harass the victim. Because it is unclear as to what constitutes sufficient annoyance, the facts of each case should be analyzed exhaustively.
Many times, people file complaints against others simply because they are slightly annoyed or offended. If you have been charged with harassment, Saggy Law Firm criminal defense attorney can analyze the facts of your case and may be able to argue for the court to downgrade the offense or dismiss it altogether.
He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. From the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina.
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Before the electronic age, charges usually involved harassing conversations, either in person or over the phone. The second element of a harassment charge is evidence that the communication was likely to harass, annoy, alarm, torment, or embarrass the victim.
Using the same example, if the state wanted to pursue a harassment charge for the same comment, the state would need to introduce testimony or evidence that the comment was intended to harass or alarm the victim and was likely to alarm the victim. Evidence could include instances of other similar comments, the angry or hostile demeanor of the defendant at the time the comment was made and any gestures consistent with an intent to complete the threat, such as raising a fist and movement toward the victim.
The type of evidence required to make a harassment charge will depend on the nature of the alleged harassing communication. State venue and jurisdiction laws affect where a defendant can be prosecuted for a harassment charge.
Potentially a defendant could be prosecuted in a state where he was never present physically if all communications were made electronically. For example, if the harassing communication occurs repeatedly, a harassment charge could evolve into a stalking offense.
For example, in Texas, some types of indecent exposure are usually considered misdemeanor offenses when a child is not involved. If a defendant is convicted of two misdemeanor indecent exposure offenses, he would be required to register as a sex offender.
In this case, a better plea option for a defendant might be to accept a higher sentence or punishment on a harassment charge, rather than being labeled a sex offender. According to harassment laws, a misdemeanor can result in punishment for one or two years in county jail, depending on the state.
A defendant placed on probation will usually be required to participate in a rehabilitative program linked to the type of harassment. A defendant who made obscene proposals could be required to undergo sex offender evaluation or treatment.
An individual convicted of harassment could also be charged with emotional damage in a collateral lawsuit. Some parents have resorted to the civil courts to file lawsuits or injunctions against defendants who engaged in harassment directed toward their children.
Harassment can take place in a number of different contexts, including in-person, over the telephone, and through online channels, such as social media or email (also sometimes referred to as cyberbullying). In jurisdictions that have enacted hate crime legislation, specific statutes may also exist that make harassment of protected classes eligible for heightened penalties.
Typically, these laws prohibit harassment that is aimed at victims because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. If the behavior or communications in question meet the applicable definition of harassment, it should be reported as a complaint to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
To assist law enforcement in investigating and preparing a case against the defendant, the victim should collect and document as much information about the harassment and the individual committing these acts as possible. If possible, the victim should deliver the gathered documents in person and go over them with the detective to explain the circumstances and answer any questions that may arise.
For example, if the person has been leaving harassing phone calls on voicemail, the victim can bring the telephone or a recording of the messages to the police. If the victim received harassing messages online, the police will find printed hard copies of those communications useful.
Thus, it's also prudent for victims to bring their smartphones or laptops to show the relevant websites or social media accounts to the police upon request. Law enforcement officials may also be able to offer additional advice about increasing personal safety and how victims may protect themselves and their property from the harasser while the case is being investigated.
A restraining order is a document signed by a judge that legally bars the person from contacting or coming within a specified distance of the victim (usually 100 feet or so), or engaging in any further harassment. Judges may issue these orders temporarily on an ex parte basis, that is, without notice to the harasser, especially when the victim has initiated criminal proceedings against the individual.
“ Harassment refers to a broad number of behaviors that are subject to both criminal punishment and civil liability. Federal and state laws ban discrimination against certain types of people in certain situations, such as at work or in housing decisions.
Generally, criminal harassment entails intentionally targeting someone else with behavior that is meant to alarm, annoy, torment or terrorize them. Harassment by someone in violation of a restraining order may also draw a higher level charge.
Some states elevate the charge if the harassment targeted someone based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation. Menacing can often include ongoing actions, such as stalking someone, which cause reasonable fear in the victim.
Menacing also often includes single acts which are purposefully intended to create a reasonable fear in someone, such as brandishing a weapon. Whether and how states draw lines between harassment, menacing and stalking varies greatly.
“Cyberstalking” generally refers to stalking someone through the internet, email, text messages, or other means of electronic communication. Some states also punish actions akin to cyberstalking under laws aimed at improper uses of computers or electronic communications networks.
Federal law makes it a crime to “transmit in interstate commerce” (which includes the internet) a communication containing a threat to kidnap or physically harm someone. Violating a protective order may also increase the severity of a harassment, stalking or menacing charge.
Harassment refers to a wide variety of behavior which can violate both civil and criminal laws. What constitutes criminal harassment varies by state, but it generally entails targeting someone else with behavior meant to alarm, annoy, torment or terrorize, and creating reasonable fear in the victim for their safety or the safety of their family.
Criminal cases can end with a misdemeanor or felony conviction and can be punishable by prison time. A harassment charge is a legal charge filed against someone who intimidates, threatens, stalks, or otherwise makes another person feel unsafe or annoyed.
This charge may also be filed against someone who steals personal information, snoops, or invades other people’s privacy. Many behaviors can be considered harassment, but the victim’s perception that he or she is being threatened is usually the most important factor.
Repeated unwanted contact, including excessive phone calls, too-frequent e-mails, or showing up uninvited at another person’s house multiple times after being told to stop are all common forms of harassment. People from old romantic relationships or someone who’s been rejected by the victim may become bitter and start to behave inappropriately.
For example, in a divorce, one spouse may threaten the other, causing significant distress those results in charging someone with harassment in Brampton. Though laws vary by jurisdiction, civil harassment is generally seen as being done by a person who the victim has not been in an intimate or romantic relationship with, like a neighbor, stranger, or family member that’s not a parent, sibling, grandparent, or in-law.
Similar behavior from a close family member may be considered domestic violence rather than harassment. Other forms of discriminatory behavior, such as bullying based on ethnic differences, sexual preferences, or religion is also typically seen as a civil crime.
He or she should follow any court directives strictly, and be sure not to contact the person making the charges without first consulting a criminal harassment lawyer. Seek a restraining order legally barring the person from contacting you again if you are afraid the harassment will continue.